MWAA Gets $1.2 Billion For Silver Line

First Silver Line train pulls in to Wiehle-Reston East/Credit: Mike Heffner, Vita ImagesMetropolitan Washington Airports Authority officials said they have closed on more than $1 billion in federal loans that will go toward the construction of Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line.

In May, MWAA was approved for the $1.28 billion U.S. Department of Transportation ‘Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act‘ (TIFIA) loan to cover the portion of the Silver Line funded by revenue from the Dulles Toll Road.

Overall, the project is expecting $1.9 billion in TIFIA loans, with the remaining portion to come when partners Fairfax County and Loudoun County finalize their segments of the loan, MWAA said. The counties should finalize their loans by this fall. The Airports Authority will be able to begin drawing on its portion of the loan once all closings are final.

“The Airports Authority and our project partners made securing a low-interest TIFIA loan a top priority, because of the financial benefits it offered to the Dulles Toll Road users and taxpayers,” an MWAA spokesman said in a statement. “Thanks to the favorable interest rates the loan provides, as well as the financial commitment from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Airports Authority will be able to hold tolls at current levels through 2018 and limit future toll increases.”

Earlier this year, it appeared the TIFIA funds could be in danger as the federal highway trust fund, which funds the loan, was bordering on bankruptcy.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed into law $10.8 billion in temporary funding for highway and transit construction. That will keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through May, when lawmakers will have to again find longer-term funding.

Phase I of the Silver Line project opened to the public on July 26. It has five stops in Tysons Corner and one at Reston’s Wiehle Avenue, which will be the end of the line until at least 2018. The $2.9 billion Phase II will have stops at Reston Parkway, Herndon, Route 28, Dulles International Airport and Ashburn. Design planning has begun and Phase II is projected to open in 2018.

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